Lt. Col. Lee Archer, a World War II fighter pilot with the Tuskegee Airmen, died Jan. 27 at the age of 90. He died of coronary complications at New York Hospital in New York City.
Archer remains the only confirmed ace of the Tuskegee Airmen. He flew 169 combat missions over more than 11 countries and scored at least five aerial victories.
Archer entered the Army in November 1941 and received training as a telegrapher and field network-communications specialist. In December 1942, he was accepted into aviation cadet training and reported to the Tuskegee Army Airfield in Tuskegee, Ala.
On July 28, 1943, after graduating number one in his class and receiving his commission as a second lieutenant, he was assigned to the 302nd Fighter Squadron under the 332nd Fighter Group. The group was transferred to Italy during World War II.
He flew 169 combat missions, flying cover and escorting long-range bombers over more than 11 countries, as well as strafing missions against enemy landing zones and troops on the ground.
He held numerous post-war leadership and staff positions in the Air Force, including chief of protocol for the French Liaison Office, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe; White House Air Force-France project officer; chief or executive officer of three international military organizations, including the SHAPE Liaison Office, the 36th North American Air Defense Division and Headquarters U.S. Air Force Southern Command in Panama.
He retired after 29 years with the Air Force, then became vice president for urban affairs at General Foods Corp.; CEO of North Street Capital Corp.; and chairman of Hudson Commercial Corp. He also served on the board of directors of Beatrice International Foods and the Institute for American Business, a General Motors Venture Capital Subsidiary.
He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and received special citations from Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson, along with the Director of the CIA. Archer retired as a lieutenant colonel after 29 years of service and resided in New Rochelle, N.Y.